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Heavy-duty truck leasing primer

The ability to lease vehicles adds flexibility, not only because it increases equipment in boom times, but also because it helps fleet control capital investment. With this in mind, Fleet Equipment asked three of the top leasing companies to outline the features and benefits of the programs they offer.

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Choosing your lease package

Joe Gallick, senior vice president of sales for NationaLease, says, “There are various degrees of fleet maintenance outsourcing available to private fleet operators ranging from a complete full service lease to a variety of contract maintenance structures customizable to the specific needs of a business. With full service leasing (FSL), the lessor handles all the asset acquisition and financing tasks, including specifying the most optimal equipment for the customer’s operating requirements and working with various OEMs to flawlessly deliver and properly prep each vehicle for its intended use.”

He goes on to say that the lessor provides all scheduled preventive maintenance as well as 24/365 emergency road service to handle any unexpected problems that may occur. Also provided by the lessor are legalization functions including licensing, permitting, fuel tax reporting, periodic vehicle washing and substitute vehicles, should a truck be out of service beyond the normal allotted time for scheduled maintenance.

For companies that may choose to acquire and finance their fleet separately, a contract maintenance program can be tailored to provide all of the same services as a full service lease, sans the depreciation and interest expenses associated with the asset acquisition, notes Gallick. Maintenance programs may range from a guaranteed maintenance agreement (GMA) where fixed and variable costs are determined up front for the entire contract term and typically applied for new vehicles; to a variable maintenance agreement (VMA) where costs are estimated for budgeting purposes but adjusted to reflect actual maintenance costs incurred through the term of the agreement. Typically, these structures are useful when taking over the maintenance of a used vehicle fleet.

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“At NationaLease we provide an enhance maintenance platform, entitled Fleet 20/20, which enables fleet operators to improve vehicle uptime and realize cost savings through a powerful collaborative connection among our network of members, outside service providers, OEMs and truck dealerships, as well as our 24/365 Road Rescue service,” Gallick says. “Using cloud-based technology, we’re also able to communicate real-time with vehicle telematics (M2M) providing a true, 360 degree information hub for our users. We’ve recently partnered with Decisiv Inc., provider of service relationship management (SRM) solutions for commercial assets, to provide customers with state-of-the-art fleet tracking and reporting capabilities. NationaLease Fleet 20/20 captures, communicates, manages and measures every service event in real time, enabling efficient management of multiple service providers while providing lower total cost ownership and improved asset performance for our fleet customers.”

He goes on to say that NationaLease can offer complete, full service lease solutions as well as any combination of vehicle support services under a contract maintenance agreement: “We do this in a unique way as one of the largest full service truck leasing organizations in North America, with more than 700 facilities throughout the United States and Canada. Our company is comprised of 165 independent businesses united with a central mission: To provide customers with a flexible, quick response to their transportation needs.

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